4 trends to keep ahead of in 2020

by 24 January 2020

With the hectic festive season now a distant memory, 2020 is already well underway. With the end of January almost upon us, retailers across the country are making plans for the next 11 months, keen to capitalise on the latest trends and new innovations that could hold the key to more custom, more revenue and better profits through the remainder of the year.

2019 brought another year of great change for the world of fuel and convenience retail, and there’s already signs that 2020 is set to follow suit. So, what should business owners be looking out for over the weeks and months ahead?

Here’s our predictions for 2020’s top retail trends:

1 – Spotlight on sustainability

Sustainability is a hot topic right now, not just in retail but across a wide range of industries. As we all become more aware of the impact our actions have on the environment, many of us are making whatever changes we can, big or small, to reduce this impact, and your customers are no different. As a result, shopping decisions will increasingly be influenced not just by price and quality, but also social responsibility. In short, your customers will be more likely to continue shopping at your site or store if they see some evidence that you too are taking an interest in sustainability.

This trend was already well evidenced throughout 2019, and the signs are that this is set to continue for the long-term. Research from the ITE Group shows that independent retailers throughout the UK are hoping to include 33% more sustainable products as part of their offerings in 2020. Tesco has been in the news in recent weeks for dropping multi-packs of certain products because of over-packaging. It’s taken a long time for a major retailer to move like this. Arguably for smaller more agile convenience and fuel retailers, demonstrable change may be more easily achievable in less time, which could be attractive to conscientious shoppers.

There’s a variety of ways that retailers can start doing their bit, whether that be adding recycling services to their store, reducing the amount of plastic packaging included with their products, offering free water refills with re-useable bottles, or even sourcing more local produce to reduce their carbon footprint. Even switching to LED lighting throughout your store to reduce your energy consumption is a positive start. Whatever you can do to help the environment, it won’t go unnoticed by your customers.

2 – Commercial challenges set to continue

For UK retailers, especially independent stores and forecourts, the challenge of keeping their business afloat amidst rising costs and falling profit margins remains an ongoing battle.

This is set to continue in 2020, thanks in part to an expected increase in business rates, as well as a rise in the National Minimum Wage (NMW), both due in April this year. What’s more, the expansion of larger groups and multiples creates further competition, pushing smaller stores to find new ways to compete, including additional special offers and deeper price reductions.

To help combat rising costs, it’s imperative that stores look at how they can streamline their processes and identify new ways to add value. Investing in new technologies is just one way to do this, helping to speed up transactions, improve staff efficiency and better publicise your offerings to customers.

3 – Flexible payments give customers freedom

Consumer habits are changing, and new technologies are playing a significant role in this shift in expectations. This extends to payments, where alternative methods such as contactless and mobile pay are increasingly becoming the norm both on the forecourt and in-store.

This sea change is set to continue in 2020, as customers become more accustomed to being able to pay in the way they want wherever they choose to shop. Latest evidence from IMRG states that 66% of consumers claim they would be inclined to spend more with a retailer if they offered more flexible payment methods. Many customers, especially younger generations, may even no longer carry cash or cards with them, so by failing to provide modern payment facilities you risk inconveniencing customers, potentially encouraging them to stay away from your store. As such, retailers will need to adapt to this change in customer demands, implementing new technology that supports modern transactions.

4) Loyalty schemes proving popular

Loyalty schemes shot to prominence in 2019, with many retailers looking to implement new ways of rewarding shoppers for their ongoing custom and encouraging them to come back again and again. A recent study shows that 77% of British adults participate in at least one loyalty scheme, with 59% believing all brands should offer a loyalty programme.

The popularity of loyalty schemes looks set to increase through 2020, and as with sustainability efforts highlighted earlier, customers will start to make their shopping decisions on the loyalty schemes they participate in and the potential rewards available to them.

Ensuring your site and store uses the right technology to implement a scheme, whether your own or part of a wider national initiative, holds the key to capitalising on this trend.

Get set for 2020 with TLM

Technology will play a significant role in helping retailers seize any opportunities presented by the latest trends, and our innovative solutions are designed with your needs in mind.

That includes evoPOS, our next-generation EPOS solution. It’s perfect for helping modern conveniences stores and forecourt extract greater value, with an intuitive user interface helping to speed up transactions and reduce staff training, and regular updates to ensure you benefit from the latest functionality.

There’s also full integration of with mobile pay, modern card terminals and Outside Payment Terminals (OPT), plus compatibility with a range of popular loyalty schemes.

By including digital signage, you can also better publicise new products, special offers and new additions to your store including environmental initiatives.

To learn more about any of our solutions, or how we can help you take advantage of 2020’s biggest trends, get in touch with a member of the team.

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